Robert Philibosian, L.A. County D.A. who oversaw McMartin Preschool case, dies at 83


Robert Philibosian, the previous Los Angeles County district lawyer who oversaw the prosecution within the controversial McMartin Preschool case and later served as authorized commentator in one other high-profile trial, the legal case in opposition to O.J. Simpson, has died on the age of 83, in response to his household.

Philibosian, who served because the county’s thirty eighth district lawyer from 1982 to 1984, was battling West Nile encephalitis and fell right into a coma, daughter Janet Philibosian Valenzuela stated. He was faraway from life help on Monday.

Relations stated in an announcement:

“He was a real public servant and all the time put others earlier than himself. He helped numerous folks advance their careers with no expectation of something in return. He cherished his household (together with his whole massive prolonged household) above all else and devoted his life to his spouse, his youngsters and our spouses, and his beloved grandchildren. He took such satisfaction in all of our accomplishments and we are able to’t think about our lives with out his fixed presence.”

In 1982, Philibosian was unanimously chosen by the Board of Supervisors to succeed Dist. Atty. John Van de Kamp following Van de Kamp’s election to state lawyer basic. The Occasions reported on the time that the board resolution got here “after a sequence of roll calls marked by excessive drama and intense lobbying.”

Philibosian received out over two extremely touted candidates, U.S. Atty. Stephen Trott and former Republican Assemblyman Dave Stirling. Lobbying to the board on his behalf was political ally and California Gov.-elect George Deukmejian. After three cut up roll calls, Supervisor Kenneth Hahn modified his thoughts and offered Philibosian the vote he wanted.

Board members denied they had been swayed by Philibosian’s shut ties to the governor and pointed to his 15 years of expertise as a prosecutor.

Upon accepting the board’s appointment, Philibosian pledged “all my efforts towards making the district lawyer’s workplace as efficient as potential.”

Throughout his time as district lawyer, Philibosian prosecuted civil circumstances concerning poisonous waste disposal and environmental, shopper and antitrust regulation, in addition to legal issues. However maybe the case that drew essentially the most headlines was the prosecution of workers members at McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Seaside who had been accused of kid molestation.

Peggy McMartin Buckey, her son, Ray Buckey, and her mom, Virginia McMartin, had been amongst seven on the preschool initially indicted on 115 counts of kid molestation by Philibosian, the presiding district lawyer throughout the notorious case.

In the end, the case resulted in no convictions. All expenses had been dropped by 1990, with the complete case lasting seven years and costing taxpayers greater than $13 million, making it the longest and most costly trial in American historical past.

The Occasions reported that some jurors within the trials involving the Buckeys “stated the youngsters appeared to have been led by questioners to assert they’d been molested. Others stated that a lot time had handed that the recollections of the youngsters — who handed from toddlerhood to adolescence in the middle of the authorized proceedings — couldn’t be trusted.”

Mary Ann Jackson was one of many preschool staff and authentic defendants in opposition to whom expenses had been dismissed. She instructed The Occasions that she blamed the hysteria and political ambitions of Philibosian, who was in a reelection bid, for a “weak case.”

He would lose his reelection race to Ira Reiner in 1984.

Philibosian joined the Los Angeles County district lawyer’s workplace in 1968, rising to turn into head deputy accountable for the Van Nuys department in 1979.

Deukmejian, then the lawyer basic, appointed him as chief assistant lawyer basic of the legal regulation division, the place he served from 1979 till 1982. On this place, he directed the state’s legal appellate prosecution and oversaw initiatives in opposition to shopper fraud and antitrust points.

“Robert Philibosian was an iconic determine in California’s authorized and political scene, leaving an indelible mark on the authorized group and past,” the Affiliation of Deputy District Attorneys stated in an announcement. “His unwavering dedication to service, his dedication to mentorship, and his steadfast love for his household outlined his illustrious profession and life.”

On the top of the media frenzy surrounding the O.J. Simpson trial, Philibosian served as a authorized commentator for ABC Information, changing into a extremely seen media determine all through the trial. He appeared frequently on “Nightline,” “World Information Tonight,” “20/20” and “Good Morning America,” heading up ABC’s protection of particular occasions throughout the trial, together with closing arguments and the verdicts.

Sheppard Mullin — the place he was a accomplice and authorized counsel, working there from 1994 till his demise— launched an announcement saying Philibosian had made “a long-lasting impression on the authorized and political group, and his tireless dedication to advocating for justice stays with all of us.”

“He was a superb lawyer, a eager strategist and a consummate skilled,” the assertion stated. “To know Bob was to know him as a pal and a mentor, with generosity felt by all. His recommendation was treasured, whether or not he was advising purchasers on authorized issues or offering phrases of knowledge to colleagues on the agency.”

Philibosian was born in Selma, Calif., on Sept. 29, 1940.

He earned a bachelor’s diploma in historical past from Stanford College and, in 1967, a regulation diploma from Southwestern Regulation College. He handed the California State Bar in 1968.

“Everyone who got here involved with him revered him. Whether or not it was the shopper or the adversary, Republican or Democrat, everyone revered,” stated Man Halgren, who was companions with Philibosian at Sheppard Mullin.

Philibosian is survived by his spouse of 54 years, Nancy Philibosian; youngsters Janet Philibosian Valenzuela and Robert Philibosian; 5 grandchildren; and siblings Dianne Philibosian and Richard Philibosian.


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